CrackBerry → BBGadgets → Wired: RIM’s BlackBerry smartphones have always come with a physical QWERTY keyboard. CrackBerry addicts love typing away at the keyboard. The keyboard is one of the main distinctions between it and Apple‘s iPhone, which eschews such crude old-school technology for the latest marvel in technology: touch. With a large TFT LCD display coupled with touch technology, there are obvious advantages.
One of the strongest advantage of a virtual keyboard is the ability to make it any language possible. With the iPhone 2.0 there were support for Chinese, Japanese and Korean text input. On a physical keyboard it would be impossible to support all three at once. Without a physical keyboard the BlackBerry and the iPhone devices are going to get a bit more difficult differentiate.
Look closely at the pictures of RIM’s BlackBerry Thunder smartphone. And guess what? No physical keyboard. No more messing around with a physical keyboard. You get a full QWERTY keyboard in landscape mode and a less-than-ideal SureType keyboard in portrait mode. I personally like a real virtual QWERTY keyboard in both landscape and portrait modes. The Thunder also has multitouch capability via a nice glass LCD. But in addition to touch, you get haptic feedback via tiny little motors that zing when you touch the LCD.
So, with the physical keyboard gone, what makes a BlackBerry a BlackBerry?